Last weekend I had the luxury of a craft-filled weekend. A friend and I hired a place in the countryside and spent the weekend crafting. Part of the point in this was that my friend had offered to help me overcome my fear of sewing machines by showing me that her’s, at least, wasn’t the evil snappy monster of my imagination.

Friday afternoon, then, found us sitting at the table (incidentally this was the first time I’ve ever used size of table as a criteria for whether to stay in a place or not) ready for the tuition to begin. I’d chosen something simple, but useful, as my first project. These lavender bags from the Purl Bee which I thought I could make and give to Mum for a Mothers Day gift. My friend’s sewing machine is a manual Singer machine, so will only go as fast as you let it. This was a really good place for me to start. It was still intimidating though, and stupid as it sounds, I was nervous. My Mum had an electric Singer sewing machine, and I do remember her using it, but I also remember her being a bit scared of it, and that Dad used it the most. As with many things, I suspect her reaction has rubbed off on me.

My friend showed me how to set up the machine - I was quite delighted with the bobbin winding mechanism - and showed me how to thread it, and got me all set up and ready. She provided me with a piece of fabric to practice on, which I did.

First use of a sewing machine

And then it was time to take another deep breath and start my lavender bags. I had some purple fabric (hence the mostly purple thread in the sample above) and made a start. I simply put the two wrong sides together, and sewed them up. It didn’t take very long, and although I know that the slowness of the pace was amusing to my friend she was very patient, kind and encouraging, and within an hour I had three mostly sewn up little bags.

The following morning I completed the assembly, using batting to give some softness and padding, and obviously some lavender. Looking at them now, they could have taken more of both to make them a bit fatter, but they’re nice enough. I followed the final stage of the tutorial and used some cotton and tacking stitch to pucker them up a bit as well. Overall, I think, a successful first sewing machine project.

Purple lavender bags

On Sunday I decided to make another set of lavender bags, this time using some of my orange fabrics. There was a lot less supervision this time (fortunately the machine was still set up with orange cotton after the (yet to be blogged about) larger Saturday project) and they probably took less time. I followed the same instructions and methods as per the purple set, although I did exhaust my lavender supplies and had to beg some from my friend’s stash. As with the purple ones, they’re not entirely square, but they are pleasing to me.

Orange lavender bags

I decided that I wouldn’t give Mum all of the little bags, but would keep one of each colour for myself as a physical reminder that I can use a simple sewing machine. So, this morning, armed with some 2-shaded orange ribbon I picked up during the week, I wrapped the best/most consistent 4 into a bundle that I’ll take to Mum next time I visit her.

Lavender bags all ready to go to Mum

So the end result of all of this is :
* I have another hand made Mothers Day gift for Mum (last year I made her this)
* I have 2 lavender bags for me to remind me that I can do this
* I have no more lavender
* I’m grateful to my friend for taking the time to help me as a result of which
* I no longer believe all sewing machines are nasty, snappy monsters with sharp teeth (My friend’s one is quite delightful (and forgiving) actually)
* and probably most importantly, I find myself a lot more positive about sewing which in turns give me many more options with the assembling of woven things